A TO Z INDIA
Prathamastami is celebrated on the eighth day in the month of Margasira (November-december) and is one of the most popular festivals of Odisha. This is widely observed throughout the State. On this occasion the eldest child of the family is honored. He or she is given new clothes and is made to sit on a wooden pedestal (Pidha).
In front of him/her an earthen pot full of water (Purna Kumbha) is placed on handfuls of paddy. Above it a branch of mango leaves and a coconut is placed. Then, the mother or any other elderly lady wishes him /her long-life and good health by praying Sathi Debi, the Goddess who protects children from all kinds of evils.
Rituals of Prathamastami:
Before the first-borns get honored, the mother and all other elderly women of the family offer all the prepared cuisine (Pitha and Khiri) to Sathi Devi first. Then they light the lamp (Arati with Dwipa) before the Goddess. Followed by this the first-borns get honored.
The social significance of this festival is that the first-borns are brighter and it is ultimately they who take up the burden of the family after the death of the parents. According to psychologists, the first-borns are mostly healthy, obedient and tradition-bound.